Conveyancing Association reveals new Technical Protocol

Conveyancing Association reveals new Technical Protocol

25 April 2018

The Conveyancing Association (CA) has just revealed the third edition of its Conveyancing Protocol.

The Protocol, initially launched in 2013 and updated in 2016, is the result of CA members, panel management companies, and stakeholders working together to produce a document that outlines best practice, and aims to deliver a robust and efficient conveyancing service through co-operation. 

It collates guidance from the Law Society, the Legal Ombudsman, UK Finance and case law to provide conveyancers with a single point of reference for this best practice.

The Protocol provides Best Practice Guidance for all member firms that cover off potential issues in the conveyancing process, such as delays in the transaction (from initial communication through to avoiding delays on completion); additional enquires (from avoiding unnecessary ones to preventing last-minute ones); and technical issues (dealing with extensions and alterations through to restrictive covenants and short leases). In addition, there are specific sections on dealing with leasehold cases, and how to ensure the highest standards in order to avoid fraudulent activity taking place. 

Following a consultative work programme, a number of significant additions and amendments have been made to the Protocol covering:

  • Delays in the transaction: sending of bank details to the client by post to avoid interception by fraudsters; inclusion and acceptance of General Data Protection Regulation requirements to ensure that information can be shared with all parties; using an electronic anti-money laundering check; a new section on Pre-Sale Preparation covering what should be included; a commitment to issue a contract pack at the earliest opportunity and what this should include; a new section on leasehold enquiries; and a commitment to securing a signed contract as soon as possible.

Also, to avoid delays to the transaction, firms can use the CA’s ‘Conveyancer’s Code for Completion’ to enable funds to be transmitted the day before completion.

  • Additional enquiries: a commitment to limit all additional enquiries to those relating to title or those required by the client; and a new section on Proportion of Retentions: firms will be able to appropriately rely on the provisions within the Standard Conditions of Sale.
  • Technical issues: new advice and recommendations on dealing with planning permissions and building regulations; new information on restrictive covenants both pre- and post-1925 documents which contain them; and details on short leases, their potential impact and communicating these to the client. 
  • Communication with lenders: updated information on minimising post-valuation queries and ensuring that Certificates of Title are dealt with quickly.
  • Leasehold: updated information on how conveyancers should deal with applications for information or consent, deed of covenant, and rent review clauses.
  • Fraud avoidance: a commitment to implement the CA’s Cyberfraud & Fraud Protocol – a new version of which was introduced on 18 April; measures to identify high-risk property and to protect the proceeds from the sale. 

The CA fully endorses the principles that underpin the Conveyancing Association Protocol for England and Wales: third edition, but recognises that each transaction must be judged on its own merits. In some cases, established working practices, system limitations and the instructions of a client or lender may prevent the adoption of the Protocol in full. Within these acknowledged limitations, the CA commends the adoption of the protocol to its members as an opportunity to improve client satisfaction, shorten transaction times and to provide a valuable training tool for their conveyancing teams.

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